Card Tagle visits Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, calls the situation an 'international crisis' (photos)
by Sumon Corraya

The Caritas Internationalis president heard the stories of refugees who fled from Myanmar. Refugees do not want to return, as long as Myanmar does not guarantee them safe repatriation. Card Tagle told Caritas workers that through them the Rohingya see the “face of Jesus Christ".

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Card Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila and president of Caritas Internationalis, yesterday visited Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, calling their situation an “international crisis".

Along with members of Caritas Bangladesh, one of the largest charities on the ground, the prelate met dozens of refugees who fled persecution Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

The refugees have “faced cruel persecution,” the cardinal said. This “is very unfortunate. The Rohingya crisis is an international refugee crisis. To solve it, the international community should come forward. To overcome this crisis, the people of Bangladesh have already showed their kind generosity.”

Card Tagle heard scores of refugee stories and expressed appreciation for the work Caritas Bangladesh has done since the start of the emergency. "Caritas is a mission,” he explained, “not an organisation".

Speaking to the charity’s workers, he said "Through your sincere and selfless work, the beneficiaries see the face of Jesus Christ".

Zahid Hossian, 34, his wife Rahana Begum, 28, and their four children are some of the people the archbishop met. The family fled Myanmar at the outbreak of violence and do not want to be repatriated.

"We have no intention of going back,” said Zahid Hossian, “because Myanmar is not a safe place for us. Persecution against the Rohingya is still going on.”

After violence broke out between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in August 2017, some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed the border into Bangladesh.

The voluntary return of the first 2,260 refugees scheduled for 15 November did not take place and no one has expressed a desire of going back, at least not until Myanmar authorities guarantee the refugees "security and citizenship rights".

Although the Myanmar government said that it was ready to welcome the returning refugees, Dhaka postponed the first repatriation until the end of December.